AbstractThis paper presents the results of a finite-element (FE) study on posttensioned (PT) rocking steel bridge piers, each composed of a circular tubular column, welded end plates, PT strands, and axially yielding steel energy dissipators (EDs), and corresponding chairs. The pier is configured so that it rocks at its base. Previously conducted experiments on five scaled rocking steel columns are summarized. Three-dimensional (3D) continuum FE models of the tested specimens are generated with the objective of verifying the capability of the modeling approach in the simulation of the local and global responses. Strain-controlled cyclic coupon tests were performed to quantify the kinematic and isotropic hardening material parameters. A simplified method is proposed to model the cyclic loss of prestressing because of wedge seating in a typical industry monostrand anchorage system. The FE procedure is then calibrated against the experimental data at the material, component, and global pier levels. A parametric study is conducted to examine the effects of key factors such as material model, P-Delta, base plate dimensions, column diameter-to-thickness and initial axial force ratios, ED chairs, and ED location on the lateral cyclic response. It is demonstrated that, for a given target drift, local buckling and the resulting residual lateral deformations of a rocking steel pier are a function of the diameter-to-thickness and initial axial force ratios of the column and the ED chairs. By the proper selection of these variables, a stable and robust self-centering response can be obtained with minimal damage to the bridge pier.

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